“Omnibus,” a prominent landmark on the south lawn of Kauke Hall, is described in the current exhibition at The College of Wooster Art Museum.


Student Curators Research College of Wooster Art Museum Collections

“Museum Studies: Recent Acquisitions + 1” on display now through May 14

March 28, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Visitors to The College of Wooster Art Museum will find some of the latest additions to the museum’s permanent collection when they drop in on “Museum Studies: Recent Acquisitions + 1.” The exhibition, which is on display in the Sussel Gallery now through May 14, features extended object labels written by students in the Museum Studies class taught by Jay Gates.

“This experiential learning opportunity provides students with an excellent insight into a museum’s inner workings,” says Kitty McManus Zurko, museum director and curator. “For this project, each student selected an object (or set of objects) and then conducted research that was then condensed into an object label.

“As a curator, the objective is to find a way to connect material culture to an audience, and also explain why an object takes the form that it does,” adds Zurko. “While there are a many ways to accomplish visitor connectivity, the object label is the single common denominator for all museums. By working on an exhibition in a public venue, the students learn very quickly that writing for the public is vastly different than writing for your professor.”

Among the collection pieces included in the exhibition is “Omnibus,” a relatively recent addition (2009) to the south lawn of Kauke Hall. In her explanation about this public sculpture, senior English major Eryn Killian says it exists in dialogue with the rest of the academic quad. “The statue’s bronze draws a connection to the bronze window frames of Timken Science Library, which, with the names of many disciplines engraved prominently on its façade, seems itself to represent the spirit of the liberal arts,” she writes. “Though the 26 objects scattered across the surface of Omnibus appear random—a beard, a wheel, a tin of sardines—the intent is that the viewer will imagine connections among them, drawing order out of the apparent chaos.”

In all, 17 students — 15 seniors and two juniors — worked on the exhibition, including senior art history major Nora Armstrong’s analysis of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sailboats;” senior art history/archaeology double major Renee Hennemann’s and senior history/art history double major Lauren Close’s critique of William Hogarth’s “Industry and Idleness;” and senior history major Ben Caroli’s take on four Andy Warhol photos. Other student curators include junior history/art history double major Keely Pearce, who describes David Nash’s print “Ash Dome,” and senior archaeology major Anastasia Wallace, who provides an account of Civil War-era artist and former Wooster citizen Michael S. Nachtrieb’s painting, “Untitled (Apples and Peaches),” from 1903.

The “+1” in this exhibition refers to Emily Timmerman, a junior art history major who is presenting a distillation of her Art History Junior Independent Study research on the evolution of street art.

The opening reception will be Thursday, April 5, from 6-8 p.m. with gallery talks by the student curators. There will also be a “Lunch in the Gallery” featuring additional talks by the student curators on Wednesday, April 18, from noon to 1 p.m. (A light lunch will be provided. Reservations are not required.).

Also on display in the Burton D. Morgan Gallery are 45 drawings and prints from The College of Wooster Art Museum’s Permanent Collections. Artists represented in this exhibition include John Taylor Arms and two of his contemporaries, Ernest David Roth (American, b. Stuttgart, Germany 1879–1964) and Warren Chase Merritt (American, 1897–1968) as well as Maxime Lalanne (French, 1827–1886) and Félix Bracquemond (French, 1833–1914).

The College of Wooster Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. All receptions, lectures, exhibitions, and performances are free and open to the public. Group and class tours are also available. For more information, or to arrange a tour, please call 330-263-2388 or visit the museum's website.